Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 June 2009) . . Page.. 2326 ..
MR SPEAKER: Mr Corbell, do you want to clarify the situation?
MR CORBELL: Yes, Mr Speaker. If I can clarify the matter, I think that what occurred on that occasion was that I mistook one question for another in relation to that matter. There were a number of questions outstanding. I apologise for any confusion or inadvertent misleading that that may have caused. There were a number of questions outstanding. I assumed they had all been dealt with; in fact, only a number of them had. This is one of those that had not.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you. Mrs Dunne.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.00): Mr Speaker, could I move that the Assembly note that the minister has had question No 30 in his possession and has been having an answer compiled for more than three months—that the Assembly note, in accordance with standing order 118A(c), that the answer has not been provided.
MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, you are seeking to move a—
MRS DUNNE: I seek to move that the Assembly note that the minister has not answered the question in the time provided, in accordance with standing order 118A(c). I move:
That the Assembly takes note that the Attorney-General has failed to answer question on notice No 30 in the time provided by the standing order.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.01): Mr Speaker, the government has no objection to noting it. It is unfortunately the case that sometimes members ask questions which involve considerable use and considerable devotion of territory resources to answer questions that then appear to be used for no practical purpose whatsoever. My department is endeavouring to answer the question as soon as possible. It is a long, lengthy and detailed question that involves the compilation of a broad range of statistics that are not regularly retained and used by my agency over the period of time for which Mrs Dunne has requested the answer.
We are working to provide that answer, but it is not data that is routinely held: it has to be compiled, and it has to be put together in a way that is not commonly done. It is not a straightforward way or a straightforward question to answer. I regret the period of time it has taken, but if members insist on asking questions that involve the deployment of a large number of territory resources to answer them, unfortunately there will be occasions on which the questions will not be delivered within the required time frame.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.02): Just to round out this issue, can I say that standing order 118A is very clear on the process if the minister cannot answer the question in time. At any time, he can give the member or the Assembly an explanation. That has not been forthcoming, and it has not been forthcoming for more than three